Critics: Profit drives Pickens energy plan

Aug. 7, 2008 at 10:29 AM
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DALLAS, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens' energy initiatives are motivated by profit, not domestic security, critics said.

Pickens has proposed switching vehicles to natural gas power and increasing wind power to generate electricity. He has budgeted $58 million to push the concept, The Dallas Morning News reported Thursday.

Clean Energy, which Pickens founded, is the largest supplier of natural gas for transportation and in California the firm has engineered a public referendum -- Proposition 10 -- that would provide $5 billion in tax-funded rebates for those who buy alternative-powered vehicles, the News reported.

Pickens has also spent more than $2 billion on wind turbines in Texas that require new transmission infrastructure, the News reported.

"A lot of what he's trying to do is add value to a stranded asset," Kenneth Medlock III, an energy fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy told the News.

"It's a misnomer to say he's doing this with the country's best interests at heart ... he's obviously got millions of dollars on the line," Medlock said.

But, Pickens isn't hiding his financial interests, Pickens' Washington lobbyist Michelle Laxalt told the Times. "That is how he's hard-wired. He is very straightforward about that."

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